The last decade has been rough on my generation. We've been taken down several notches by economic bubbles, wars, and debt. Let's call ourselves The Humbled Generation. And if we're smart, we can tackle today's problems with humility.
America has gotten away from naming generations in ways that convey meaning. Labels like the Lost, Greatest, and Boomer generations have been replaced by X and Y, which describe little more than temporal order.
As a 31-year-old representative of “Generation Y,” also known as the Millenials, I sometimes wonder whether historians will refer to my American generation with any creativity. I think an appropriate label is emerging, but it doesn’t bring me joy to suggest it. My cohort might be called, The Humbled Generation.
My grandparents’ generation is called the greatest, and for the most part this is true. With the exception of feet-dragging on important social advances, mainly civil rights, this war-hardened group that safeguarded for decades America’s security and economic eminence was pretty great.
The baby boom that included my parents is known as privileged and activist. Growing up when American might was unmatched and new Chevrolets kept rolling into the suburbs, boomers found they had time and financial freedom to push the country toward greater social and racial equanimity.
Theirs is an entitled generation, though, that has gleefully dined on federal debt and is now sliding the check across the table to younger folks like me.
The formative years of The Humbled Generation in the 1980s and 1990s were marked by self-esteem coddling and projections of everlasting American economic and military power. We were told that we could do anything, and that our country did everything. We were told that failure was not an option, or at worst, not at all likely.